A poem from Obediah Michael Smith

January 1, 2019



of Women


am I going

to have to

live divided


I dread it

I am dreading it



this division

of my heart  


all four chambers used to

fill with blood for her  

used to beat for her

used to be for her


now, what is like a river,

branching, splitting in two


what am I to do, confess

or live duplicitous,



don’t like it one bit

though this new affair,


is legitimate


just flipped like a pancake

in a pan in fat on the fire


needing to be brown,

to be done on both sides


am I supposed to  resist,

be blunt, not bunt

what is pitched to me


to right or left or

somewhere or somehow


make no effort

to play the ball, to hit it


is it justification sufficient

to say that she is divided too

married already, in love with me


I did not-

still do not want

to learn to live like this


in pieces - in parts

or even divided


wanted to be living

just for her, not for two


is the heart

an orange or tangerine

with so many plugs,

as easy to divide


wanted to give it

to my wife whole


to hold out until


she was able,

was available,

to give herself

to me wholly also


but could she ever

be that committed,

that devoted


in bed with two men

or with how many at present


are they- are we

as close at times

as she and this other woman

in my life were this morning


only able, with great effort,

with delicate precision,

to keep them apart



Obediah Michael Smith was born on New Providence, in the Bahamas, in 1954. He has so far published 20 books of poetry. At University of Miami and University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados, he participated in writers workshops facilitated by Lorna Goodison, Earl Lovelace, Grace Nichols, Merle Collins, and Mervyn Morris. He attended Memphis State University, 1973 to 1976 and majored in Speech & Drama and Biology. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dramatics and Speech, from Fisk University. He has lived and has studied French, in Paris, France. At Universidad de Costa Rica, in 2011, he studied Spanish. Smith was the Poetry Workshop facilitator for the Bahamas Writers Summers Institute, in 2009 and again in 2011. His poems in English are included in literary journals and anthologies throughout the Caribbean, in the USA, in England and in Kenya, and his poems, translated into Spanish, are included in anthologies in Colombia, in Mexico, in Peru, in Venezuela and in Spain. In 2011 and 2012, for five months, he lived in Mexico City. He attended Kistrech Poetry Festival in Kisii, Kenya, in 2014 and in 2015. He spent from 2014 to 2018 in 11 countries in Africa.  July 11 – 17 2018, he attended Romanian international poetry festival, Curtea de Argeş Poetry Nights. His poems are now included in that festival’s anthology translated into Romanian.

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